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(Mostly Ye Auld Fronter:)
It's been forever since I've been online consistently. There was a stretch a while back when my post housing Internet was completely crapped out for two weeks and could not understand how to make a connection happen. Just last week was a five-day FTX (field training exercise, which is all about going out into the wilderness to Embrace The Suck(TM) because there is insufficient suck to be found in civilized places and thus the Army must send us out into the forest to quest for more of it), and this weekend has been all about rushing to battle the other fifty people on my housing floor for the three washers and three dryers so we can get all our gear cleaned for a layout on Monday. As usual, I seem to be coming down with something as a result of all the crud in the field, so despite my best intentions I haven't been doing much since Friday night except attempt to wash and dry five loads of laundry and sleep.

People seem intrigued by my semi-immunity to CS (tear/riot) gas. Probably I should have predicted it, but as a necessary Chem Corps hazing ritual our cadre sergeant dropped gas at the doors of all the plywood huts that we were sleeping in on the last night of the FTX. I was That Guy who had already packed my gear for departure the previous evening and thus had my mask buried in the middle of my duffle bag with lots of junk on top of it. My hut was up earlier than the others, so when we heard the grenades banging against the door and the pop-n-hiss, we were not surprised (or not as surprised as we could have been, at least). It seems that the other guys were mostly still asleep and didn't wake up until their sinuses started swelling shut, at which point there was a hilarious stampede for their respective back doors. The others started freaking out and scrambling for their masks, while I just sighed and grabbed my duffel and walked out the back to rummage grumpily through its contents while white trails of gas were creeping around the sides of the building from the grenades out front. I was thoroughly chill on account of my transcendent crankiness, as my thoughts were going something like this: "Man, three hours of sleep, and all I wanted to do this morning was take a refreshing leak and pack my stuff and get out of here but NOOOOOO now there's GAS and my packing plan has been DAMN INCONVENIENCED and even if I get this mask on the CS will crystallize on my clothes and everything else because it's coming through the fucking windows and now I have to WASH EVERYTHING and not just SOME THINGS and RRRRRR FFFFFFFFF etc. etc."

Everybody afterward was all, "Wow, you totally didn't care about getting gassed! That was awesome!"

Like the ninja of old, I am mighty against the poison gas because my body contains a superior, systemic venom that, like a king snake, devours all lesser poisons that attempt to gain a foothold. My insanity > chemical warfare agents. True story.

...Seriously, though, longterm severe anxiety can cause incredibly shallow breathing on account of all the muscle tension. By barely breathing at all, I get only tiny doses of inhalants through my lungs, so I don't feel anything until it starts getting into my pores or eyes. AT LAST, THE BENEFITS APPEAR.

As a side note, in reference to the illness, Hyperbole and a Half has done an excellent job of depicting what it is like to be me, sans headmates. (Even the weird shit about crawling across the floor, which is so bizarrely similar that I wonder now if every depressed person does that kind of thing.) For full effect, loop this post for at least ten years. In my case, however, I get out of the bad spots not by becoming invincible after hitting bottom; rather, I usually get so busy with other people's work that my extremely short memory is able to forget exactly how depressed I was and why, so I can forget myself back up to a near-normal level. Whenever anything reminds me somehow, I immediately nosedive back into hell. Nowadays, that happens at least once a week.

It is fabulous that now there is a colorful stick-figure cartoon to which I can direct people if I should ever encounter anyone who has no idea what severe depression is like.


I am still catching up on everything. Unfortunately, life is still not in the clear for us, because our mom is flying in on Wednesday and I graduate CBOLC on Friday and immediately after graduation (meaning Friday afternoon or something) post housing will terminate my room assignment, so we must immediately begin driving to Colorado. We plan to arrive maybe Saturday afternoon. The fun part about all of this is that I've had no contact from my receiving unit yet. I got some contact info for the S-1 (personnel officer) of the BCG that I'm supposed to be attached to, but shit got so busy that after having an email bounce and having two phone calls ring into infinity I honestly couldn't find more time to spend trying to get to these people. Our mom mailed us my copy of The Army Officer's Guide a couple weeks ago so I could read up on this situation, and it turns out that I'm supposed to have a sponsor officer in my unit who should have contacted me at least sixty days ago and should have been my resource for tiny, annoying details like "Who the hell do I report to?" and "Who is actually my boss?" and "What is actually my job?" and "Is there anything stupid I should know about PT, including where it is and whether I have to wear a retarded orange vest over my uniform?"

So I assume that we will be driving in with no clue at all, getting the housing people to give me permissive TDY so our mom and I can go find a lair for us, and in between looking at apartments and getting my household goods unpacked and hitting up IKEA, FURNITURE STORE OF CHAMPIONS, I will also be sneaking around and trying to find out all that vitally-important job info on the sly somehow so I can save face and be able to pretend that I totally knew it all two months ago.

...US Army Officership: Where Every Day is a New Kick in the Nuts Adventure!! :D :D

For now, I need to go check my laundry again to see if there's a couple dryers empty. It looks like I probably won't sleep much tonight on account of the ongoing washer/dryer resource battle, so perhaps I will make transcriptions into the Woofilter or something else that I can do with a funky head cold and lingering sleep-dep from the field.

We all are hoping that everyone has been alright while we've been gone. Many hearts for all of you. <3 <3 <3

--etc. and alles.
Hey, as always good to hear you're still alive. Never knew about your tear gas immunity. Hardcore, dude. ^^

Anyways, hope you're hanging in there all right. Post more often to let the rest of us know how things are going. :)